|B-side "I Can't Help It"|
Format 7" single, 12" single
|Released July 28, 1979|
Genre Disco funk
|Recorded December 1978 – June 1979,
Allen Zentz Recording Studios, Westlake Recording Studios and Cherokee Studios, Los Angeles|
Length 6:05 (album version) 5:53 (12" edit) 3:58 (single edit)
"Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough" is a single written and recorded by American singer Michael Jackson. Released under Epic Records on July 28, 1979, the song is the first single from Jackson's fifth studio album, titled Off the Wall. The song was the first solo recording over which Jackson had creative control.
- Background and production
- Release and reception
- Music video
- Live performances
- Usage in media
- Cover versions
"Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough" was Jackson's first single to hit #1 on the United States Billboard Hot 100 chart in seven years, and his first solo #1 on the Soul singles chart. It remained at #1 for six weeks on Billboard's Soul chart. The song was a worldwide success. Within a few months of release, the 45 was certified Gold, and eventually earned a Platinum certification for sales in excess of two million US copies.
"Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough" was well received by contemporary music critics. An accompanying music video for the song was released in October 1979. The video shows Jackson dancing, as well as being shown in a triplicate, in different color backgrounds. The song also won Jackson his first solo Grammy and American Music Awards. "Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough" is considered to be the first song to showcase Jackson's talent as a solo artist, both as a singer and songwriter. Since the song's release, it has been covered by numerous musicians.
Background and production
In 1978, Jackson starred as the Scarecrow in The Wiz, an urbanized retelling of L. Frank Baum's The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. After the filming, Jackson, who was still a member of The Jacksons, approached the film's musical director, Quincy Jones, to ask if he knew of any producers to help with Jackson's future solo endeavors. Jones suggested himself, and the two began work on Off the Wall. After listening to hundreds of demos, the two decided upon the ones to record. These included "Workin' Day and Night", "Get on the Floor" and "Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough". The song was recorded in Los Angeles recording studios. Jackson claimed that when the melody of "Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough" came to him, he couldn't shake it off. He found himself humming and singing it while walking through the Jacksons' Encino home. As Michael is not a keyboardist, he had his brother Randy perform the melody on a piano in the family's recording studio. When Jackson's mother, Katherine Jackson, a devout Jehovah's Witness, heard the song, she was shocked by the lyrical content, and felt that the title could be misconstrued as pertaining to sexual activity. Jackson reassured her that the song was not a reference to sex, but could mean whatever people wanted it to. Upon playing the recording to Jones, it was agreed that the song would be featured on Off the Wall.
Musically "Don't Stop 'til You Get Enough" is credited as a disco-funk song. The song's full length on Off The Wall is just over 6 minutes. "Don't Stop 'til You Get Enough" introduced Jackson's falsetto voice and vocal hiccups, which would become one of Jackson's signature techniques. Along with Jackson's vocal hiccups, Jackson's voice in the song was described as having vocal tics—from the hiccups, a "grunt", and "the 'oho!'". "Don't Stop 'til You Get Enough" is played in the key of B Mixolydian and in common time signature. In the song, Jackson's voice range is from G#3 to B5. Instruments for "Don't Stop 'til You Get Enough" are a 6 piece horn section (2 trumpets, alto sax, tenor sax, trombone, and baritone sax), string section (arranged by Ben Wright), and 2 guitars, keyboards, bass, drums and percussion. The song's tempo is upbeat at 120 beats per minute. "Don't Stop 'til You Get Enough" begins with Jackson speaking, before singing the song's lyrics.
Release and reception
"Don’t Stop 'til You Get Enough" was released on August 10, 1979, under Epic Records; Jackson's first solo album away from Motown Records. It was well received by contemporary critics. Stephen Holden, of Rolling Stone, described the song as "one of a handful of recent disco releases that works both as a dance track and as an aural extravaganza comparable to Earth, Wind and Fire's 'Boogie Wonderland'". Within three months of its release, the song was at the top of the charts and had been certified gold. Reaching number one on Billboard's Hot 100 and Hot Soul Singles charts in the United States; it was Jackson's first solo number one single since "Ben", seven years prior. It remained atop of the Billboard Hot 100 for one week. It also reached the top of the charts in Australia, New Zealand, Norway and South Africa, and peaked at number three in the United Kingdom. "Don't Stop 'til You Get Enough"s was awarded platinum certification by the Recording Industry Association of America in 1989.
In 2006, "Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough" reached number 17 in the United Kingdom, following the Visionary campaign, whereby 20 of Jackson's hit singles were reissued in several European countries. Following Jackson's death in June 2009, his music saw an increase in popularity. "Don't Stop 'til You Get Enough" peaked at number seven on Billboard's Hot Digital Songs Chart, peaking at number nine on the charts issue date July 11, 2009. "Don't Stop 'til You Get Enough" charted within the top ten, placing at number nine, in France, and charted within the top 20 in Portugal and Switzerland, placing at number 18 and 20. The song also charted at number 21 in Australia, 38 in the United Kingdom, and 50 in Sweden, respectively. "Don't Stop 'til You Get Enough"s least successful country was Japan, peaking at number 77. "Don’t Stop 'til You Get Enough" was certified gold in Australia by Australian Recording Industry Association in 2009 for the shipments of 35,000 units.
"Don't Stop 'til You Get Enough" earned Jackson his first solo Grammy Award, winning Best Male R&B Vocal Performance at the 1980 Grammy Awards. It was also nominated for Best Disco Recording. The song also received Favorite Soul/R&B Single at the 1980 American Music Awards.
The music video for "Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough" was directed and produced by Nick Saxton and made its world premiere in October 1979. It was Jackson's first music video as a solo artist. The music video shows a smiling Jackson in a black and white tuxedo with a black bow tie (resembling the Off The Wall album cover photo) dancing and singing the song while appearing chroma keyed over a background of abstract geometric figures. At one stage, Jackson is seen dancing in triplicate, which was considered innovative at the time.
The music video was included on the video albums: Video Greatest Hits - HIStory, Number Ones and Michael Jackson's Vision.
Michael Jackson performed this song on The Jacksons' Destiny Tour on the second leg, as well as the Triumph Tour. During the ''Victory Tour'' and the first leg of the Bad Tour, Michael would sing lines from the song while performing "Shake Your Body (Down to the Ground)". Michael also performed this song as part of the "Off the Wall Medley" on his HIStory World Tour, but only on certain concerts. Jackson was also going to perform it for the This Is It concert series (merging it with The Jacksons' Shake Your Body (Down to the Ground) as a dance interlude), but the shows were cancelled in result of his death not long after the announcement.
Usage in media
"Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough" has been covered by multiple artists since its release in 1979.
James Montgomery of MTV noted that "Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough", along with Off the Wall's other three singles, "showcased (or, more specifically, unleashed) Jackson's talents as a [sic] entertainer, a vocalist, a writer and, most importantly, as a leading man." After Jackson's death, AOL's Radio Blog released a list, entitled "10 Best Michael Jackson Songs", which placed "Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough" at number ten on the list.
William Ruhlmann, author of The All-Music Guide to Rock, praised "Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough" as an "irresistible dance track". John Lewis, author of 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die, noted that the "jittery, frenetic opening track" is the centerpiece of Off the Wall. He concluded that "Jackson's falsetto hollers and frisky yelps serve as an obbligato to the lead line, punctuating Ben Wright's thrilling string arrangement and Jerry Hey's tight horn charts". Jason Elias, a writer for Allmusic, noted that "Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough" presents a "new Michael Jackson" that was "sexual, [an] adult, and aggressive. Elias commented that "Like the best of Jones' late-'70s, early-'80s work, this [song] wasn't quite disco, couldn't be hardcore funk - it was an amalgam of styles with the all-important pop accessibility."
Jackson's biographer J. Randy Taraborrelli described Jackson's unveiling of a "sexy, playful falsetto" that "no one had ever heard from him before". Nelson George stated that the argument for Jackson's greatness began with the arrangements of "Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough". He noted that the percussion and backing vocals were "artfully choreographed" to "create drama and ecstasy on the dance floor". He concluded, "It's one thing to make a dance record — it is another to instill that track with an epic, celebratory quality as Michael does here". James Montgomery of MTV noted that Off The Wall contained a "masterful mixture of fiery disco tracks", specifying "Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough" and "Workin' Day and Night".